For him who wanders up and down
by Clark Ashton Smith
Its long-familiar streets in autumn nights,
With melancholy meaning shine the lights
Of the small, scattered town.
Often, where lamp-bright windows cast
Their homely splendor forth on tree and lawn,
Strange moths of dream and memory are drawn,
Flown from the ghostly past.
And kisses faint as falling mist
Await the wanderer at some old door,
And sorrowful voices crying Nevermore
From bygone lips he left unkissed.
What panes illumed by love's own lamp
Are darkened now, or lit by alien hands;
Where friendship sat before the rose-red brands
Comes in the invasive cold and damp,
Or strangers make oblivious cheer:
Till he that watches dimly from without
Peels as a leaf blown in the autumn's rout
From desolate trees foredoomed and sere.
But still he turns, and marks again
Some aureate lamp that friends have lit afar;
Some radiance, with love for inner star,
That burns behind a trellised pane;
Knowing if it were not for these,
His vagrant soul would haunt a vaster night
Lit only by the inalienable light
Of all the quenchless galaxies.